Unique Restaurants in Hoi An: 12 Coolest Places to Eat

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Hoi An
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Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not just a visual feast with its lantern-lit streets and ancient architecture. It’s also home to a culinary landscape that’s as diverse as it is delicious. Dive into this guide and discover the unique restaurants in Hoi An that offer more than just a meal but an experience!

Hoi An is a captivating gem in Vietnam, known for its culinary treasures. As you wander its lantern-lit streets, you’ll sense the deep history of a place touched by traders from distant shores, each introducing their unique flavors. This ancient port town, with its mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and French influences, offers a dining experience that stands out.

Every corner of Hoi An has a tale to tell, and its restaurants play a significant role in these narratives. From the inviting aroma of street food to the refined dishes in upscale settings, there’s a vast array of culinary delights. The serene riverside, with its reflective waters, adds charm to many dining spots in the town. Whether it’s a café echoing the past or a contemporary eatery showcasing modern culinary art, Hoi An’s food scene is diverse and inviting.

For those with a passion for travel and food, this guide opens the door to Hoi An’s best dining destinations. Each restaurant here promises more than a meal. It offers an immersive experience. Dive into the town’s rich culinary heritage, and whether you’re in a historic setting or a trendy spot, you’re in for a memorable gastronomic adventure.

The top restaurants to visit in Hoi An right now
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Unique Restaurants in Hoi An, Vietnam: 12 Incredible Hoi An Eateries

Are you eager to uncover the most unique restaurants in Hoi An? As we’ve mentioned before, Hoi An is home to a diverse array of culinary gems that are sure to satisfy every palate. Keep reading to find out where to eat in Hoi An, Vietnam for an extraordinary dining experience.

Are you in the mood for local Vietnamese specialties with an innovative twist? Or perhaps you’re intrigued by a fusion dish that blends traditional flavors with modern culinary artistry? Whatever your gastronomic preferences, Hoi An is equipped to meet them. Here’s your detailed guide to the most unique restaurants in Hoi An.

1. Cargo Club Cafe and Restaurant

Situated in the heart of Hoi An’s Ancient Town, Cargo Club Cafe and Restaurant stands as a multifaceted dining destination, seamlessly blending a bakery, café, and ice-cream shop into one. This unique open-air restaurant offers diners a dual experience. On one side, guests can indulge in people-watching, observing the daily life of the Ancient Town. On the opposite end, they can relish the refreshing breeze from the Thu Bon River.

The menu is a harmonious mix of Vietnamese and Western dishes. For those leaning towards traditional flavors, the crab seasoned with five spices is a must-try. If you’re in the mood for something quick yet fulfilling, their sandwiches and salads are generously portioned and bursting with flavor. However, the true stars of the show are the desserts. The Cargo Club ice-cream, a delightful trio of caramel, vanilla, and chocolate, is a crowd favorite. The Banana Split features vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon ice-cream and is also beloved by many. And for those with an insatiable sweet tooth, their light and delectable cheesecakes have gained quite the reputation.

An added bonus for visitors is the restaurant’s proximity to notable attractions. It’s a stone’s throw away from landmarks like the Old House of Tan Ky and the Japanese Bridge. If you’re planning a visit, it’s located at 107 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An. It is open from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm.

Cargo Club Cafe and Restaurant is one of the unique restaurants in Hoi An.
Cargo Club Cafe and Restaurant combines a bakery, café, and ice cream shop with river and town views.

2. Rêu Dining Trà Quế

Nestled in a 400-year-old vegetable village, Rêu Dining Trà Quế offers a blend of tradition and innovation. Lê Quốc Việt and Đào Tiên, local residents, envisioned this place to celebrate Hoi An’s rich culture and culinary heritage. The design of the restaurant stands out, mixing modern aesthetics with reclaimed materials like old wooden boats and ceramic tiles. This approach not only adds charm but also emphasizes sustainability.

Dining at Rêu is an experience. Guests can savor dishes that use principles of molecular gastronomy. The Tasting Menu presents small dishes, engaging all senses, making it some of the best food in Hoi An. Beyond the main courses, the Fairy Garden & Bar offers a unique ambiance. Here, guests can try signature drinks, including the intriguing Fish sauce coffee.

For those looking for unique places in Hoi An to eat, Rêu provides more than a meal. The restaurant offers a journey through the Tra Que herb and vegetable village. Guests can see locals at work and even opt for a pick-up via a traditional Xe Lam (Tuk Tuk). With its blend of culture, sustainability, and culinary delights, Rêu Dining Trà Quế is a destination not to be missed.

Rêu Dining Trà Quế combines tradition and innovation, celebrating Hoi An's culture through a sustainable design.
Rêu Dining Trà Quế combines tradition and innovation, celebrating Hoi An’s culture through a sustainable design.

3. SecretEATS

Imagine an evening where every detail is shrouded in mystery, from the location to the menu. SecretEATS offers just that, an intimate and exclusive dining experience in Hoi An. Set in a secret art deco-inspired space, this dining adventure is curated by one of Central Vietnam’s most renowned chefs. Guests are treated to a gourmet feast, with 4 or 5 courses that showcase the chef’s creativity and passion.

One of the coolest places to eat in Hoi An, SecretEATS promises more than a meal. The experience begins with a Secret driver picking you up, setting the tone for an evening of surprises. The venue, whether along the banks of the Thu Bon River or within a 250-year-old Vietnamese home, adds to the allure. Every dish is a testament to the chef’s dedication. This ensures guests leave with memories that linger long after the last bite.

For those on the hunt for unique Hoi An restaurants, SecretEATS stands out. From the anticipation of the unknown to the delight of each dish, it’s an evening that promises enchantment at every turn. Remember, it’s all hush-hush, so advance booking is essential to be part of this clandestine culinary adventure.

SecretEATS in Hoi An offers an exclusive dining experience in a secret location curated by a renowned chef.
SecretEATS in Hoi An offers an exclusive dining experience in a secret location curated by a renowned chef.

4. The Field Restaurant

Among the best places to eat in Hoi An, The Field Restaurant offers a dining experience that’s both scenic and sustainable. Perched on the edge of a vast rice paddy field in Cam Thanh, this restaurant provides diners with unparalleled views of the river and expansive rice paddies. As you sit, you’re treated to a mesmerizing vista of rice shoots that seem to stretch endlessly towards the horizon. The menu is a reflection of the surroundings, with dishes that celebrate wild ingredients and organic produce. Each item on the menu is a nod to the local farms. It presents rustic yet tasteful dishes that capture the essence of Hoi An’s countryside.

For those searching for a unique restaurant in Hoi An that goes beyond just serving delicious food, The Field stands out with its commitment to sustainability. The establishment prides itself on zero-waste operations. From reusing organic waste to create dishwashing liquid and compost to recycling non-organic waste in a closed-loop system, every aspect is thoughtfully designed. Moreover, The Field takes an active role in educating its staff about sustainable practices and often hosts events that highlight the rich cuisine and culture of rural Quang Nam. A visit during the late afternoon is recommended. The setting sun over the river and the cool breezes across the rice fields create a magical ambiance.

The Field Restaurant offers scenic and sustainable dining by a vast rice paddy with dishes celebrating local ingredients.
The Field Restaurant offers scenic and sustainable dining by a vast rice paddy with dishes celebrating local ingredients.

5. Hoi An Art Space

Hoi An Art Space stands out as a vibrant fusion of art and gastronomy. Located on the Rue des Arts, this venue opened its doors in October 2018 under the umbrella of Anantara Hoi An. The indoor area showcases a plethora of original artworks. The outdoor terrace, named “pizza at art space,” promises to be a hotspot for wood-fired oven pizza enthusiasts.

The resort’s executive chef, Geert Jan Vaartjes, masterfully combines traditional recipes with unique Vietnamese ingredients. This creates dishes that are both familiar and novel. One of the highlights is the use of a 3D printer. It adds a touch of modernity to the dining experience.

For those seeking unique places to eat in Hoi An, this venue offers more than just food. It’s a collaborative effort between Anantara Hoi An Resort, March Gallery, and the Precious Heritage Museum. The rotating collection of artworks, curated by UK artist Bridget March, provides a visual treat for art aficionados. In addition to the visual and culinary delights, the venue hosts a range of events. It includes movie nights and craft sessions to “art and wine” painting classes. This makes it one of the most fun places to eat in Hoi An.

Hoi An Art Space features indoor art displays and an outdoor wood-fired pizza terrace.
Hoi An Art Space features indoor art displays and an outdoor wood-fired pizza terrace.

6. Reaching Out Teahouse

In the heart of bustling Hoi An, there’s a sanctuary of serenity that stands out from the rest. Reaching Out Teahouse offers a unique experience, where the ambiance is defined by profound silence. As you step inside, you’re immediately enveloped in a peaceful bubble, a stark contrast to the lively streets outside. The teahouse is designed with care and attention to detail, from the rustic decor to the meticulously arranged tableware. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the staff, all of whom are hearing and speech impaired. This not only provides them with employment opportunities. It also offers guests a chance to communicate in a different, more profound way.

For those looking for cheap eats in Hoi An, this teahouse offers a delightful array of teas and coffees. They all come served with a side of tranquility. The Vietnamese Tea Tasting Set is a must-try. It includes options like the aromatic Jasmine Green Tea and the robust Organic Red Lantern Herbal Tea. The Vietnamese Coffee Tasting Set, on the other hand, showcases the rich and diverse coffee culture of Vietnam, from the Good Day Coffee to the Yin-Yang Hoi An Ancient Blend.

As a unique restaurant in Hoi An, Reaching Out Teahouse is more than just a place to enjoy a drink. It’s a testament to the resilience and capabilities of the differently-abled, a space where silence speaks volumes, and every cup of tea or coffee comes with a story.

Reaching Out Teahouse offers a serene ambiance with hearing and speech-impaired staff, creating a unique experience for guests
Reaching Out Teahouse offers a serene ambiance with hearing and speech-impaired staff, creating a unique experience for guests

7. 9 Grains Bakery and Cafe

In the heart of Hoi An, just a short bike ride away from the Ancient Town, lies 9 Grains Bakery and Cafe. Operated by the STREETS International trainees, this establishment is a beacon of hope. Every cup of coffee, every sandwich, and every pastry served here supports STREETS’ mission to provide hospitality and culinary training to street kids and disadvantaged youth in Southeast Asia.

Among the hidden gem restaurants in Hoi An, 9 Grains stands out with its delightful blend of Western and Vietnamese offerings. The cafe is a haven for travelers seeking a comforting cappuccino or a Western sandwich. And if you time your visit right, you might be in for a treat with their seasonal bakery offerings. From croissants that even the choosiest would approve of to unique treats like hot cross buns and holiday mince pies, the bakery infuses familiar Western favorites with a touch of Vietnamese flair.

Ranked among Hoi An’s best restaurants, 9 Grains is not just about the food. The ambiance is calm and inviting, with air-conditioned interiors providing a respite from Hoi An’s tropical heat. But the real charm lies in its social mission. Every visit supports a worthy cause, making your dining experience all the more fulfilling. Open daily from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, it’s a perfect spot to refuel and rejuvenate while contributing to a brighter future for many.

9 Grains Bakery and Cafe supports culinary training for disadvantaged youth through its offerings.
9 Grains Bakery and Cafe supports culinary training for disadvantaged youth through its offerings.

8. Tiệm Cà Phê Linh 1975

In the midst of modern Saigon, there exists a portal to the past, a place where time seems to stand still. Tiệm Cà Phê Linh 1975 is a testament to the charm of old-school Saigon, offering a nostalgic experience that’s hard to find in today’s rapidly evolving cityscape. The cafe’s rustic appearance, combined with its old-world decorations, transports visitors to a bygone era. This makes it one of the themed restaurants in Hoi An that’s worth a visit.

For those who cherish the allure of yesteryears, this cafe stands out as a unique restaurant in Hoi An. Located on Trương Định Street, just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Bến Thành Market, its facade, adorned with sun-bleached wood panels, contrasts beautifully with the surrounding modern structures. Inside, the decor is reminiscent of a 1970s Vietnamese living room, complete with wooden chairs, a vintage TV cabinet, and a rusted electric fan. The broad use of earth-tone shades, combined with turquoise and canary curtains, adds to the cafe’s soothing aura.

The coffee counter, designed like a local retail store from the past, and the affordable drink selections make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re looking to reminisce about the past or simply enjoy a cup of coffee in a serene setting, Tiệm Cà Phê Linh 1975 is a destination that promises a memorable experience.

Tiệm Cà Phê Linh 1975 in Saigon offers a nostalgic, old-school experience in the midst of modernity.
Tiệm Cà Phê Linh 1975 in Saigon offers a nostalgic, old-school experience in the midst of modernity. | Source: https://thesmartlocal.com/

9. Nocturnal Artist

For those seeking fun restaurants in Hoi An, Nocturnal Artist offers an experience that’s as enchanting as its name suggests. Owned by Lam, a self-taught artist, this family-run restaurant is a delightful blend of art, history, and gastronomy. As you step inside, you’re greeted by a captivating ambiance. You’ll see walls adorned by Lam’s original paintings, lanterns that cast a warm glow, and historical photos that whisper tales of bygone days. The restaurant’s quirky yet cozy setting makes it a favorite spot for both locals and travelers.

Diving deeper into this unique restaurant in Hoi An, the menu is as intriguing as the decor. From the rich and flavorful seafood curry to the crispy pancakes that offer a delightful crunch with every bite, each dish is a testament to the culinary heritage of Vietnam. The stuffed squid and clay pot chicken are must-tries, and the beef curry, with its blend of spices, promises a burst of flavors. Located on Nguyen Duy Hieu Street, just a short stroll from the Hoi An old town, Nocturnal Artist is a journey through art, history, and flavors that leaves a lasting impression.

Nocturnal Artist offers an enchanting blend of art, history, and gastronomy in a cozy setting.
Nocturnal Artist offers an enchanting blend of art, history, and gastronomy in a cozy setting.

10. Dinner Cruises in Hoi An

Imagine the gentle waves of the Thu Bon River, the soft glow of lanterns reflecting on the water, and the tantalizing aroma of fresh seafood wafting through the air. This is the enchanting setting of a dinner cruise in Hoi An. As the sun sets, casting a golden hue over the ancient town, these cruises offer a unique vantage point to soak in the beauty of Hoi An from the water.

For those seeking unique restaurants in Hoi An for dinner, a sunset dinner cruise stands out as an unparalleled experience. Guests are treated to a complimentary cocktail and snack as they embark, setting the tone for a night of relaxation and indulgence. As the boat glides along the river, diners are presented with a spread of fresh seafood, capturing the essence of coastal Vietnamese cuisine.

Among the coolest restaurants in Hoi An, this dinner cruise offers more than just a meal. It’s an immersive journey through the cultural and culinary heart of Hoi An. From the floating lanterns that light up the night to the melodies that serenade diners, every element is curated to create memories that last a lifetime. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking to elevate your Hoi An dining experience, a dinner cruise on the Thu Bon River promises an evening of romance, nostalgia, and gastronomic delight.

Hoi An dinner cruises offer an enchanting experience with lantern-lit Thu Bon River and sunset views of the town.
Hoi An dinner cruises offer an enchanting experience with lantern-lit Thu Bon River and sunset views of the town.

11. Mango Mango Restaurant

A creation of Chef Duc and a part of his renowned Mango Group, Mango Mango is a testament to the vibrant spirit of Hoi An’s dining scene. With its prime location along the tranquil Thu Bon River, near the lantern bridge and night market, Mango Mango offers an experience. The restaurant’s spacious interiors, outdoor patio, and terrace provide the perfect backdrop to enjoy Hoi An’s fresh, tropical air. You can also savor the mesmerizing views of the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.

Dive into the Hoi An restaurant guide, and you’ll find Mango Mango shining brightly. The restaurant’s menu is a delightful fusion of traditional Vietnamese flavors and modern culinary techniques. Shared plates, festive food, and a wide range of signature cocktails make it a favorite among both tourists and locals. From tempura-battered calamari rings named “Lord of the Squid Rings” to the pan-seared tuna steak dish “In the Mood for Love,” every dish is a celebration of taste and creativity.

Among the coolest restaurants in Hoi An, Mango Mango is more than just a dining spot. It’s a place where food, music, and camaraderie come together. Live music, a diverse cocktail menu, and the infectious energy of Chef Duc and his team make every evening here unforgettable. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a quiet dinner or be the life of the party, Mango Mango promises an experience that’s both delightful and memorable.

Mango Mango offers a vibrant dining experience along the Thu Bon River.
Mango Mango offers a vibrant dining experience along the Thu Bon River.

12. Tra Que Garden Restaurant

Tra Que Garden Restaurant offers a dining experience that’s both authentic and refreshing. Located in the heart of Tra Que Vegetable Village, this restaurant is surrounded by verdant gardens where local farmers cultivate herbs and vegetables. As you dine, you can witness these hardworking farmers tending to their crops. This ensures that every dish served is fresh and organic.

Any guide on the unique restaurants in Hoi An would be incomplete without mentioning Tra Que Garden. Not only does it offer a serene dining ambiance, but it also provides a cooking class. This is for those keen on delving into Hoi An’s culinary secrets. Under expert guidance, guests can visit local markets, select fresh ingredients, and learn to prepare traditional dishes. From crafting your own spring rolls to carving vegetables into edible art, the cooking class is a delightful journey of flavors and creativity.

Most of the produce used is locally sourced, supporting the livelihoods of local farmers. The friendly staff, fluent in English, adds to the warm and welcoming atmosphere. Whether you’re savoring the crispy local fried spring rolls or indulging in the flavorful fish cooked in a clay pot, every bite is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam.

Tra Que Garden Restaurant is one of the unique restaurants in Hoi An.
Tra Que Garden Restaurant offers an authentic dining experience with fresh, organic dishes from local farmers’ gardens.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Hoi An

Delving deeper into the culinary wonders of unique restaurants in Hoi An? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to enhance your dining journey.

What is the signature dish of Hoi An?

Hoi An, with its rich culinary heritage, is renowned for several dishes. However, the signature dish that stands out is “Cao Lau.” This unique noodle dish, exclusive to Hoi An, features thick rice noodles, succulent slices of pork, crispy croutons, and fresh local greens. The distinct taste of Cao Lau noodles, attributed to the ancient town’s well water and ash from specific trees, makes it a must-try for anyone visiting.

How can one find good food in Vietnam?

Finding good food in Vietnam is an adventure in itself. While the country is dotted with numerous unique restaurants in Hoi An and other cities, the real essence of Vietnamese cuisine often lies in street food stalls. To discover the best, follow the locals, venture into bustling markets, or join a guided street food tour. Additionally, online reviews and travel forums can offer recommendations and insights.

What is the culinary capital of Vietnam?

While each city in Vietnam boasts its culinary specialties, many consider Hoi An to be the culinary capital. With its blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and French influences, Hoi An offers a diverse range of flavors and dishes. From street food stalls to upscale dining venues, the town serves as a gastronomic paradise for food enthusiasts.

Which city has the best food in Vietnam?

This is subjective, as Vietnam’s culinary landscape is vast and varied. Hanoi, the capital, is famous for its “Pho” and coffee culture. Ho Chi Minh City offers a more cosmopolitan mix, while Hoi An stands out with its unique blend of traditional and innovative dishes. Each city offers a distinct flavor palette, making Vietnam a culinary journey from north to south.

Pho Bo - Vietnamese fresh rice noodle soup with beef, herbs and chili.
Pho Bo – Vietnamese fresh rice noodle soup with beef, herbs and chili.

Are there any unique restaurants in Hoi An that offer cooking classes?

Yes, several unique restaurants in Hoi An offer cooking classes. One notable mention is the Tra Que Garden Restaurant. Here, guests can immerse themselves in a comprehensive culinary experience, from visiting local markets to hand-picking ingredients and learning traditional cooking techniques.

Is vegetarian food easily available in Hoi An?

Absolutely! Hoi An, being a major tourist destination, caters to diverse dietary preferences. Many restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan versions of traditional dishes. Places like the Reaching Out Teahouse and Art Space are known for their vegetarian-friendly menus.

What should one expect to pay for a meal in Hoi An?

The cost varies depending on where you dine. Street food stalls and local eateries offer delicious meals for just a few dollars. However, dining in a unique restaurant in Hoi An, especially those with river views or historical significance, might be pricier, ranging from $10 to $30 or more per person.

Are there any food safety concerns for travelers in Hoi An?

Generally, Hoi An maintains good food hygiene standards, especially in established restaurants and cafes. However, as with any travel destination, it’s advisable to drink bottled water, avoid raw or undercooked meats, and opt for freshly cooked meals from reputable places.

Final Thoughts on Unique Hoi An Restaurants

Hoi An is a culinary treasure trove, blending history and modern flavors seamlessly. While the town boasts a myriad of dining options, it’s the unique restaurants in Hoi An that truly capture its essence. Each offers a distinct experience, reflecting the town’s rich heritage and innovative spirit. As you explore Hoi An, these eateries stand as invitations to dive deeper into its vibrant culinary landscape.

Beyond just food, these restaurants tell stories of Hoi An’s past, present, and future. They’re places where traditions are honored, innovations are celebrated, and every dish becomes a memory. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor flying to Vietnam, Hoi An’s unique dining scene promises an unforgettable journey for the senses.

The top restaurants in Hoi An for all types of travelers
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